Day Three: New York City

by Hannah Kurowski

After a weekend of bonding, writing, and learning, it was time for a day of fun.  It was time for New York City.  As we drove the bus into the city, I couldn’t help but notice something different about New York.  Living near Chicago, I pride myself in being able to go into the city with ease—I prided myself with being familiar with city life.  But New York was different.  For me, it was a wake-up call.  I didn’t know city life.  I hadn’t been to New York.  New York was bigger, louder, flashier, brighter…It was everything times 10.

Dakota Henninger (center) and other participants show excitement upon arrival in New York City.

When we got off the bus, we separated into groups.  Our group first went to Central Park, where we reminisced about different movies we had seen filmed there.  We saw New York joggers in their running attire: tight spandex body suits.  We even were fortunate enough to witness a Quidditch match while at Central Park.  After, it was off to what Caitlyn Ryan called, “The greatest pizza place ever.”

Grimaldi’s was amazing! It was a quaint pizza parlor in Brooklyn.  When we first arrived, we had to wait in line outside with the other eager customers.  There was a rope blocking us off and the manager who had a God-Father-esque personality came out to yell at us to stay back and wait.  Despite the cold and the wait, it was totally worth it.  The pizza and our waiter Champiano were delicious!!! The rest of the day was spent touring the city.

My group went to explore a neighborhood of New York City called Greenwich Village.  The neighborhood was very artsy and bohemian.  There was no doubt a sense of gay pride there.  Many boutiques lined the streets and beautiful cathedrals seemed to come out of nowhere.  To find warmth, we went into a market place, where the boys bought beers and Brie and I bought cookies.  At the market place there were various musicians, one of them a cellist who winked at me as I walked by.  After warming up, we went to a garden that used to be an old metro turned into an environmentally friendly attraction.  Old, recycled materials from the train were turned into chairs, and plants came up from where there used to be tracks.

Caleb Kurowski, Brie Petty, Hannah Kurowski, Kristiana Moore, Jeff Wise, and Caitlin Ryan pose in front of a fountain at Bryan Park.

The old train metro was cool, but something better awaited us.  Taking subway after subway, we finally made it to a place called “5 pointz.”  5 pointz was a place where people were permitted to make art graffiti.  But this wasn’t just any art graffiti, this was better than some of the art one sees at the Chicago Art Institute.  This art was deep.  It reflected the city, the people, the atmosphere.  It was colorful, loud, big.  One of the graffiti pieces that caught my eye was one of a Latina woman.  The picture showed her beautiful curves and long black hair that wrapped around her face.  Her eyes, as cliché as this sounds, spoke to me.  They were sad.  For me, this woman had been through a lot and had seen a lot.  I believe I felt what the artist was feeling at that moment.

Strategic Planner Caleb Kurowski, Documenting Team Lead Brie Petty, Fund Developer Hannah Kurowski, Mickey Mouse, and Student Director Caitlin Ryan

A day in New York City can be exhausting.  The city is big and has so much to offer.  In 5 hours I spent there, I was able to see what seemed to be so much.  Yet what I enjoyed most was the overall atmosphere.  I thrived on the hustle and bustle of the city, the big lights, the honking horns, and the flamboyant, flaming neighborhoods.  It is official: I love New York City.

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